Mature, polished jazz
Reviewed March 2007
In the Morning
By Michael Blanco
Fresh Sound New Talent: 2006
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Transplanted San Diego native Michael Blanco, now a New York-based bassist, places himself among the top jazz bassists and composers with his new album. Polished, confident, imaginative, "In the Morning" is a mature album of straight-ahead jazz.
Blanco resists the temptation many bassists face when leading their own session: there are precious few bass solos here, nor is the bass mixed higher than it would be were his name not on the album's cover.
Instead, the focus is on the music and the lead instrumentalists. Blanco wrote all 10 compositions here, and if there's nothing earth-shattering here (nothing to put Blanco into the immortal territor of a Monk or Mingus), there are still some very fresh, strong songs.
Rich Perry's tenor sax and Aaron Goldberg's piano provide most of the melodic leads, while Alan Ferber's trombone offers a rich harmonic presence. Drummer Bill Campbell teams with Blanco to provide the supple foundation for the lead instrumentalists.
It's a promising debut, and ought to put Blanco on most jazz fans' listening lists.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).